As far as I'm concerned, the only way to top off a night of casino gambling is to have something else to look forward to when you leave the boat. Something to cheer you up. In my case, I looked forward to writing this column. I happily checked my e-mail to receive the requested responses to my themed question: What is your musical hi-lite / lo-lite / name drop from 1998? Since the deadline was hours ago, I sneered at my screen when I noted no new news. I mean, I spoke to ten "musically operative" types who vowed appreciation for the interest and were gettin' right on it.
Tim Roberts, my well rounded writer pal, completed his task in less than an hour. Bryan Hurst followed suit a few later. Hugh Peterson got a note from his mom, excusing him until tomorrow. Then, a dog ate his homework. Where, oh where are my e-mails? Alas, even my own guitar player is missing from the mix. Sigh.
Musicians are flakes. Now wait! Not you, of course! I'm talking about the other guy. You know the ones. They complain about the weather but never do anything about it. They are the band who's always being "looked at." The player who whiningly wonders why (your name here) gets more respect / press. Does (your name here ) know how to pick up a phone? Or place an ad? Or put together a promo kit?
And then the phone rings. It's almost 2:30 a.m. and I'm getting a fax from Fuzzy Roth, harmonica player. He's in the Nasty Weather Blues Band. Somehow our wires got crossed and he didn't realize the topic in question was in regards to 1998. A bio of sorts is in my hand and I start smiling. Not only did he take time from his extremely busy schedule to help me out, this letter is hand typed and faxed! No, thank YOU, Fuzzy, for restoring my faith.
Fuzzy became the angel of a harpist he is by sitting in with every blues band that would let him. He frequented open stages, and says of Jim Rosen, "He turned me on to Bushmill's Irish Whiskey and the Blues Harp." He recalls one of his first onstage efforts as disastrous.
"One night Sonny Love and the band started to play "I Got My Mojo Working" in the key of `C', I said to myself, I know this song. I grabbed my `C' harp and jumped up to the microphone. I started playing and it sounded like s**t. They promptly took the mic away. I sat down feeling terrible. That's when I got my first lesson on "Cross Harp." Mark Holstra, the harp player and lead singer of the Little Dippers came up to me and explained that I had to play four octaves up from what the key of the song was for it to sound right."
You've come a long way, baby!
That reminds me. My hi-lite /etc. for 1998. The Miller Genuine Draft Music Showcase. This competition managed to last for several months on the Toy Tiger stage. As one of the three winners, along with 100 Acre wood and Cooler, I looked forward to the grand prizes!! A management contract with Wild Justice, free recording time with Allen Martin Studios, endorsements and more!
Rather than continuing to hold my breath, I am content with the small reminders I received from Mom's Music in Jeffersonville. I still enjoy my Toca jacket as well as my Yamaha cap, etc. (thanks, Mark). I must admit, though, that recording time sure would come in handy right about now.
Now on to my other "lite." The "No Cover Series" on KET2 was a blast to participate in, and I now know I love cameras at my feet. Filmed at Phoenix Hill, the crew was super pro to work with - Krista Seymour and Mary Smith in particular. I enjoyed cutting up with the talented folks in Heavy Weather and the show aired for months. Seems I was always working on Mondays, so I had my photographer friend Tracy Connell tape it. As a matter of fact, it airs again starting January 8 on Friday nights, 10 p.m., on KET (Ch.13). I've lost weight since the filming.
Singer / songwriter Bryan Hurst was thrilled with the long awaited release of his debut album, Waiting For Favors in November of 1998. I guess so, it took a year-and-a-half to complete. His hi-lite reads like CD liner notes. Tim Krekel and the Groovebillys, Gene Wickliffe of the Mudcats, Laura Shine, David Barrickman, Randy Shipley, Morris Ledet, Val Barlow and, "most importantly," lead guitarist Butch Morgan all propelled his accomplishment. Recorded at Real-to Reel and backed by John Timmons of ear X-tacy Records. Bryan's thanks continue. Well, there's some name dropping! Congratulations, Bryan.
Forget what it says on his business card. Tim Roberts is too busy hanging out with musicians to hold a real job. I asked this LM• writer for a hi/lo-lite and what I got sounds a lot like scribbles from the back pages of a high school yearbook. Here goes, with an occasional edit from Muffy (who's not mentioned at all).
"Talking with L'Woo in Ray Rizzo's kitchen, a lengthy phone interview with Duke Robillard and a hug from Susannan; eating a plate of pasta covered with Chris Burdett's scrumptious marinara sauce at the El Roostars house; a Derby eve lunch with the Velcro Pygmies; exchanging father's day greetings with Graham Wood Drout and Larry Williams of Iko-Iko; pizza with Sandy Neumann; City Stage; talking with Superface in the big room with the funky carpet at the Toy Tiger; yummy noises from Mike Tevis of Crown Electric (hmm?), and a two-hour discussion, all on tape, with Dewey and the Navigators at their Ugly for Comfort Studios."
If you saw Tim this year and don't see your name, don't blame him. I probably had to save space. Sounds like a fun year, Mr. Roberts!
Remember, like sun to rain, lows give you higher highs, so don't be afraid to share your experiences. I hope 1999 is a rush.
Stay in touch, (your name here).
(heart) Muffy - 485-9677